Saturday, February 27, 2010

A good little Indian

Yesterday I stopped at this little fast-serve Indian joint at the corner of Washington Blvd., and Overland in Culver City called Samosa House East.  I needed to grab some food quickly, and had been passing this place for days, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Inside it was painted in bright colors, tending towards orange and saffron, but in a very pleasant and upbeat way. It was clean, and it smelled nice.

I was in a hurry so ordered a few samosas and a mango lassie from the nice Indian girl behind the counter.

Then I started paying attention to what was going on. Looking again at the short menu I realized it was a vegan joint. As an order for naan (flat Indian bread) was called out, the guy in the kitchen picked up a ball of dough and started shaping it – cool, made fresh and to order! And the food in the case looked, frankly, fantastic, as people before me and right after me chose what they wanted for the multi-portion plates. This was not your usual drab all-you-can-eat strip mall stuff. I mean, there were things here I’d never heard off, yet they looked appetizing. The woman next to me ordered the jackfruit – said she was addicted to it. When's the last time you ordered jackfruit, right?

The people doing the ordering tended to come from two categories: Hollywood types from the local Sony studio’s lot, or well-dressed Indian men. More good signs!

My samosas came out of the kitchen, were popped in a bag along with sauces, and handed over to me along with my mango lassie. Total time somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, cost under $10.

Back at my desk at the office where I currently am working on top secret marketing projects I dug in. Along with the samosas were containers of spicy mint sauce and a couple of sweet chutney.

The samosas were above average. Not the best I’ve ever had, the best were greasy meat samosas from a joint that soon after burned down (karma?), but these were definitely very good. Not oily, freshly made, well stuffed with potatos, peas, miscellaneous other veggies and nicely spiced.

The mint sauce and mango chutney were fantastic. They had a freshness that spoke of “prepared this morning” and definitely not from a can or bottle. The mint had a spiciness that built over several bites until I kind of realized my tongue was on fire, at which point I switched to the sweet chutney. Once things had cooled off, back to the mint I went, because it was so dang good!

And the mango Lassie? My god, the best I have ever had, and I’ve had my share. Fresh mango flavor, not too sweet, and smooth with the exception of the occasional bits of crushed cardamom.

Another good sign: My stomach felt good afterwards. I can't always say this about Indian food.

Clearly, this little Indian deserves a repeat visit.

Le Capitaine

samosa house east
10700 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-3314


  1. I'll have to check it out when I am on that side of town. Love me a good mango lassie!

  2. I went back and had what they call a Samosa Chat for lunch: Take one hot vegetarian samosa and place in bowl. Cover with garbanzo bean salad, cover that with yogurt, cover that with spicy Indian chutney, sprinkle strange blend of hot Indian spices on top. Serve. Taste buds are delighted... and a bit on fire. Cool with mango lassie.